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Kekkai Sensen – 09

「Zの一番長い日 (前編」 (Z no Ichiban Nagai Hi (Part 2))
“Z’s Longest Day (Part 2)”

Shows like Kekkai Sensen are the reason I got into anime in the first place.

Blood Blockade Battlefront just keeps finding new ways to impress me. I wouldn’t say this is a great anime season by any stretch, but I do like the fact the top tier of shows span such a wide demographic range – sports (Baby Steps), epic military fantasy (Arslan Senki), romantic buddy comedy (Ore Monogatari!!). And then there’s this series, which – like Matsumoto Rie’s previous series Kyousougiga and many a BONES show – comes as close as any to simply being “anime”. There’s something elemental in shows like this one, with their relentless imagination, sense of fun and embrace of a fantasized vision of American pop culture.

As the plot of Kekkai Sensen starts to coalesce, it puts me in mind of another terrific anime, Nazo no Kanojo X. Thematically these series are obviously different, but they’re both terrific manga that would have been difficult to adapt to anime in conventional fashion, and that succeeded because of bold changes by the director and screenwriter (in MGX‘ case the same person, Watanabe Ayumu). There’s no question that the anime-original storyline here feels distinct from the canon one, but somehow Matsumoto-sensei is totally making it work – both plots are fascinating in their own right, and we’re starting to see the once parallel lines converge.

Another trait BBB has in common with many of the strongest series is that it’s intra-episodic pacing is superb. Great anime are almost always better in the B-part than the A-part – there’s a deliberate buildup over the course of the episodes themselves, and not just the series’ as a whole, and a willingness not to deliver the payoff too early. I almost invariably find myself feeling only modestly invested at the eyecatch, only to become completely engrossed in the second half of the episode. And this week was no exception.

The A-part this week was full of teasers for the B-part, both in the Libra storyline and the Black-and-White. We’re finally introduced to Raju’s other disciple, Zed O’Brien (Midorikawa Hikaru), who makes rather a grand entrance and never really slows down till he passes out. Taking down the blood breed is a team effort, with Zed and Zapp forced to join forces to set him up for Raju to knock down, and Leo using his God Eye to learn the name so Klaus can seal him. This is all pretty much a blur, the sort of fun thrill ride BBB is rather fond of (and good at) delivering. Once the deed is done, Raju makes himself scarce – leaving Zed in Libra’s hands, which neither he or Zapp are too thrilled about.

As all this is happening, Aligura, Femt and Evil Black are watching from (fittingly) an amusement park (Coney Island?), and exchanging a lot of cryptic dialogue as Femt expresses his general boredom with the Universe. But when Raju lands the big blow against the blood breed (his name is too long to type, sorry) White seems to have a major heart episode inside the hospital. And interestingly, Leonardo seems to sense it happening. The pieces are coming together here, with the help of some flashbacks. Willian and Mary are twins, and as hinted William seems to have literally made a deal with the devil in order to save his sister’s life. An interesting parallel with Leo and Michaela here – especially when we learn that what bad Black really wants is Leo’s eyes, which he promises White he’ll accept as payment for the return of White’s body. This appears to be to setup for the finale of this season’s arc, though the exact mechanics of how it will tie in with the canon storyline are still unclear.

This is all good stuff, but it’s the atmospherics of the B-part that really make this an exceptional episode. We’re again treated to some fantastic BGM, well-suited to the rather serious and melancholy turn the story takes. And the depiction of William and Mary’s childhood home, which looks an awful lot like Ireland or Scotland, is gorgeous – deep green fields, stone fences, wildflowers, sea and a sky dotted with clouds. Everything with this show is so much more than it needs to be – there’s so much attention to detail and creativity and color. It’s pretty magnificent stuff, really – about as pure an anime experience as one is going to get, especially in this day and age. Appreciate it while we have it, and rejoice in the fact that it seems to have somehow miraculously found enough of an audience to virtually ensure a sequel.

Preview

May 31, 2015 at 10:03 pm
19 comments »
  • May 31, 2015 at 10:40 pmDualash

    I’m sort of confused and I need some clarification. So in the episode, the Zhen Tai Dan met up and rejoined the blood breed, so what was the purpose of Zapp hitting all the eyes simulataneously in the previous episode?

    • May 31, 2015 at 11:27 pmYato

      From what I understood, Zapp had to hit all the eyes at the same time to immobilize the Blood Breed, enabling to seal it away. There might be more ways of dealing with it of course.

      • June 1, 2015 at 12:05 amDualash

        So I’m assuming the immobilization was to stop its regeneration then, since it could move and join up with the blood breed’s main body then.

    • June 1, 2015 at 12:47 amRisa

      I thought it was because the Zhen Tai Dan had a very sensitive and violent defense mechanism. Zapp had to stab all the eyes at the same time to neutralize that ability so Leo could examine it closely without getting killed.

      • June 1, 2015 at 3:30 amDualash

        That’s the odd thing about the all seeing eyes of the gods, what’s their range? Is it based on his normal eyesight or is it more complicated than that? Like how he was decently far out to record the blood breed’s name in this episode, but he needed to go closer to the Zhen Tai Dan (Just wondering about it, since that thing moving to rejoin blood breed caught me off guard, I thought they would restraint it but I guess not)

      • June 2, 2015 at 8:25 pmhaseo0408

        Elder vampires are almost god-like when it comes to power so it´s no wonder that Leo´s eyes need to be closer to dicern the name. I still can´t belive that guy was so powerful after being sliced in half.

  • May 31, 2015 at 11:12 pmasdf

    I dunno if I missed this being explained previously, but what exactly is that pool of green? And what was that explosion of light? A lot of things went over my head this episode.

    • May 31, 2015 at 11:33 pmYato

      I perceived the pool of green having something directly to do with the great collapse which turned New York into Hellsalems Lot.

      As for the explosion of light, that being connected with the 13 great kings of the underworld and probably something else happening for the climax of the show.

      • May 31, 2015 at 11:58 pmasdf

        Yeah, I agree that the green of pool has something to do with the great collapse. Maybe, the buildings all held together by some kind of yellow string represent a suspension of the great collapse.

        The explosion of light happened due to the green pool. So I imagine that it has to do with the great collapse too. Maybe that explosion caused the severing of the yellow strings that have kept the collapse in suspension.

        White collapsed at the same time as the explosion. Maybe she recognized it as related to the great collapse, since she was there when it happened. Also, remembering her brother being taken over would induce a significant amount of stress.

        /speculation off

  • June 1, 2015 at 12:59 amComm3

    You mean the return of good Black’s body?

    • June 2, 2015 at 11:56 pmSpacyRicochet

      This, you made a typo/slight mistake in this sentence:

      … which he promises White he’ll accept as payment for the return of White’s body.

  • June 1, 2015 at 5:22 amDude

    Well look, this anime is good with pacing, action, music, like-able characters etc etc.

    But this cannot obfuscate the fact that a lot of details and questions aren’t answered. This episode threw a lot of new stuff at us, if they don’t explain it, it would be troublesome.

  • June 1, 2015 at 5:48 amKF

    • June 2, 2015 at 9:18 amhaseo0408

      Well, Blank was going to get any body he wanted, Black jusresponded first in the same fashion Michela did with Leonardo. I think White´s nody is somehow more connected with the Seal on the Big Collapse, that would explain why Blank is using her in the first place, two birds with one stone.

  • June 1, 2015 at 8:08 amclarice

    Mr. Enzo totally agree with you 100% about kekkai sensen! this is why I respect nightlow sensei so much he is doing his story HIS way not how “fans” want him to do his story. that’s why to me anime has go downhill ove the last decade so many creators are afraid of letting down “fans” so much that they will completely ditch an integrity in their plot just to be people pleasers. sound euphonium is a perfect example of this in the novel Show Spoiler ▼

    • June 1, 2015 at 11:10 amGuardian Enzo

      Let’s show some consideration for the Hibike fans who haven’t read the novel and tag that.

  • June 1, 2015 at 11:23 amstarss

    A lot of these characters look like they’re designed from an anime from the 90′s! Interesting.

    • June 2, 2015 at 8:26 pmhaseo0408

      Maybe that´s part of the magic of this series.

  • June 3, 2015 at 9:52 amMelissa

    Loving this show so much